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Stakeholders in the communication industry poise wireless communication as the next significant thing in the communication industry. Today, wireless technologies play a significant role in enabling individuals to access networks and other communication infrastructure, using WIFI or Bluetooth. Indeed, wireless technologies have made communication simpler and more flexible than before. Nevertheless, some people still believe that the wireless technologies are yet to change, considering the possibilities they have. In this context, Craig Partridge wrote an intriguing article on the future of data communication with regard to wireless networks. To be specific, Partridge underscored the enhancement of wireless technologies to allow radios to be software based, rather than traditional hardware. From the reading of his article, realizing the future of wireless data communications, a number of arguments were noted about the potential changes of future wireless data communication. The article details a shift from hardware to software radios, options of building radios, expected behaviors of radios, use of frequency spectrum, and amount of frequency use.
Radios that are software based will drive the future of wireless data communication, as they will replace the hardware radio models (Partridge 2011, p. 63). Traditionally, many of the wireless communication devices work, using inbuilt hardware that serves as radios. Different manufactures make this hardware work through the support of certain protocols. However, Partridge observes that this trend is likely to change with the advent of software-based radios that will run all the traditional radio functions with more flexibility, and cheap enough for use in commercial devices. In the article, Partridge mentions that the military have been using software radios for some years. In what seems to be some changes that pave for future growth of radios, the cost of software radios, and their sizes have reduced significantly, paving the way for new development in the wireless communication sector. In addition, the article describes the increasing number of firms, interested in developing software-based radios for use in various commercial products. The article identifies some of the firms like Microsoft, and Universal Software Radio Peripheral. In describing the future of wireless data networks, Partridge believes that future wireless communication will be based on software radios that will offer flexibility by offering to run various protocols to support communication functions (Partridge 2011, p. 63). Certainly, the application of software-based radios will be complemented by the ease of software development, rather than by hardware design and development.
Wireless communication devices that have software radios will have various behaviors that differ from the radios that are presently in use. The behavior of software radios is a fascinating subject, considering the statements Partridge raised in his article. Partridge notes that software-based radios will have different behavior that allows them to build in different hardware devices with a large range of interoperability. In such a case, he argues that manufacturers of wireless devices will not be concerned with the type of technology in use such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Rather, their focus will be on the ability of their gadget to run applets that will serve as software radios (Partridge 2011, p. 64). Software radios present a different approach to how communication between networks can be made possible. First, software radios will have the ability to download new protocols as soon as communication experts update them. This software radios can also download protocols from when they detect new networks by using Wi-Fi standards as the legacy protocols. Moreover, software radio will exhibit new behavior that will enable them request more bandwidth that it can source from unused frequencies within the same network. With this new behavior, it is vivid that future wireless communication will exhibit new behavior that makes them efficient users of bandwidth and other resources.
Despite the novelty of software-based radios, there is an agreement on the best way to produce software radios that users will employ in commercial gadgets for wireless communication. This is another main point that Partridge articulates in his article. Nevertheless, Partridge explores several options as alternative for manufacture of different types of software radios. The article presents two alternatives that engineers can use in the manufacture of software radios, though they present extremes options. In both extremes, the options for the development of software radios contain tradeoffs that their features compensate, when they are compared with one another. First, there are radios that are built from programmable parts such as FPGAs, DSPs and even embedded processors (Partridge 2011, p.65). These components make up the software radio that programmers can program by writing suite of software that will run the radio. When designing this type of radio, the issue of processing power is critical being that engineers are concerned with using green solutions.
On the other hand, Partridge contends that engineers can build future software radios, using configurable chips. This type of software radios will require configuration registers that will work in the chip to enable it determine some basic operating standards such as protocols that devices require to access media (Partridge 2011, p. 65). Even with the difference between the two approaches of building software, Partridge reports that manufacturers are choosing to develop software radios that exist between the two extremes. This represents the approach the software radios are likely to follow in developing future radios for data wireless communication.
The use of frequency aspect is another point that Partridge addresses in his article. The rise of future radios calls for different approaches towards how wireless devices use the frequency spectrum. In his article, Partridge argues that the flexibility of software radios is a reason for manufacturers, and licensors to worry about possible misuse of spectrum. For instance, the article highlights a case where frequencies, meant for emergencies, are used illegally. Such usage is dangerous, considering the fact that the spectrum may not be available when need arise. The possible outcome of such a scenario underscores the importance of legislation that Partridge mention in his article. Likewise, the use of spectrum, particularly those, lying idle, is another area that Partridge argues as an approach of effective utilization of network resources. To curb the misuse of the spectrum, as well as the use of rouge applications, Partridge moots for an approach that allows the identification of legitimate applications that are running in a given spectrum (Partridge 2011, p. 67). Using this approach, wireless devices can distinguish various modules, making software radios have better security.
The last important issue the Partridge raises in his article is the amount of spectrum, available for future wireless communication devices. One of the significant motivators for the development of software radios is the flexibility, associated with spectrum use. Typical software-based radios will have the potential of harnessing underused spectrum. The demand for more bandwidth will prompt for such actions because software radios are likely to have increased service and protocols that may demand more bandwidth. Further, Partridge notes that future software radios will also have to consider legacy users of the spectrum such as analog television users. Most important, the article underscores the role of software radios in promoting the sharing of spectrum between different users. For example, wireless device like PDA can use different section of a spectrum by transmitting data, using modest power. This technique will enable them to harness the use of the spectrum, and at the same time, reduce the amount of interferences that legacy users may experience. While sharing of spectrum seems to be plausible, Partridge calls for more research that will allow regulator and manufacturer to arrive at effective ways of allocating spectrum to wireless devices, using software radios (Partridge 2011, p. 68).
Wireless protocols as radio applets
Future wireless communication will have the potential of running protocols such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as applets. The use of applets in wireless data communication is one of the arguments that Partridge highlights about future wireless data communications processes (Partridge 2011, p. 62). The possibilities of future wireless data communication are endless with software radios, poised to bring more functions with applications that will run on various wireless devices, using various radio frequencies. The process of using running protocols, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, is an area of great interest to communication experts, focused in taking wireless communication a notch higher. Visionary network professions see the use of network protocols, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as applets, running on nearly any wireless devices.
The idea of running Wi-Fi and Bluetooth protocols is possible because many wireless devices have the ability or running applets, built various platforms like Java. In the networking field, communication between devices is possible if devices use similar protocols or those that can work together. For instance, computers, using the Ethernet standard can use TCP/IP protocol to communicate and share data among one another (Laplante and Ovaska 2011, p. 38). In future networks, there is a great possibility of users, running various protocols in the form of applets that have been engineered to let users install in wireless communication devices. Partridge describes a scenario, where wireless devices can work with any protocol that is necessary for communication to take place. For such achievement to take place, wireless communication devices will need to have the processing power and memory that will allow them to download the protocols as applications and run them in order to access network features. The success of this approach will be possible, when engineers develop an application that meets several requirements in order to allow wireless communication with protocols, running as applets.
Computing applets are small applications that developers build to execute certain functions. With regard to wireless data communication, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are some of the most used protocols that developers can convert into applets by programming their logic into software form. These applets will have the specific rules and parameters, required for a particular communication to take place. With the rise of software radios, it will be possible to load these applets into memory and use the processing power of these devices to run the applets. Similar to computers, all wireless data communication devices like PDA will have the ability to execute specific protocols by running them as small applications — applets. Most important, the availability of flexibility options will allow these protocols to be changed and reloaded into memory when there is a need, rather than having to wait for engineers to integrate them into various devices through the hardware radio.
Protocols such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have the potential of being developed into applets by developers with an aim of using them in the communication process. Given that wireless devices have access to wireless networks; the use of software radio will allow applets to be interpreted in order for particular protocols to be executed. In a typical network scenario, network devices will be able to download software from certain frequencies and run them in order to access network resources (Partridge 2011, p. 64). This process will be made simpler, given that many users with future software radios will be able to use their devices in any wireless environment. Their network devices simply need to connect to a base station, where it can download the appropriate applet for a specific protocol and use them. The applets for protocols like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi will contain information about how devices can exchange data, as well as how the devices can carry out other functions, available for that particular protocol. Moreover, developers will program these applets to provide new functionalities in networks, as compared to fixed protocols that may require time to upgrade in the event, where new functionalities are rolled in the networks on demand. This feature makes use of protocols as applets a novel approach that characterizes the success of using protocols in applets.
Research exploration on software radios
There is a wide literature that covers on the subject of software radios and importance in communication. The role of radio communication cannot be overestimated because radio signals give instantaneous communication between devices that are distant from each other (Rohde & Whitaker 2001, p. 1). With the invention of digital processing unit, the use of radio communication was clearer as users could employ more sophisticated device to communicate with one another. The widespread use of radio communication is the foundation of software radios — radios that use software application to provide various features that communication processes require (Mitola 2000, p. 3).
Software radio allows software communication units to work together with bases station that are responsible for providing common software solutions, required to implement specific functions in the network. For instance, radio software provides a two-way communication between base stations and client devices such as PDA. When developing software radios, engineer develops signal generators from digital transmitters and synthesizers because of their flexibility (Vankka 2005, p. 16). Most important, a huge portion of the software radios consist of software, that developers program to realize a given function (Vankka, 2005, p. 16). The software portion of software radios allows these wireless radios to download software from the base station and use them as protocols that enable communication within a network infrastructure.
There are several reasons that motivate engineers to develop software radios. First, design of software radio requires less time, therefore, allowing products to be rolled to market faster than before. The ease of manufacturing of software radio is another reason that prompts for its wide acceptance by communication experts, as software radios provide more benefits that reduce on cost in the manufacture and testing of these radios. Moreover, the ability of software radios to serve wireless networks with different protocols makes users to prefer this technology to hardware signal. The flexibility of software radios is the main reason that has pushed the development of software signals into the commercial sphere. This is because software radio reduces the content that devices associate with radio frequency in use (Reed 2002, p. 15; Kale 2008, p. 1492). The ability of software radios to allow upgrading of terminal and fixing of bugs makes it a candidate for future networks (Harada & Prasad 2002, p.389)
The future of software radios is likely to have an impact on the management of mobile networks (Del Re 2001, p. 160). This is because software radios have options that enable engineers to configure mobile communication networks. Today, there are many prospects that are associated with software radios, especially with the enhancement of service performance in networks. The use of software radios is unending, given the possibilities of software radios. Users can gain internet access through software radios as well as access to multimedia resources in networks. While these are just a few features of software radios, there is more to expect from wireless data communication, running software radios.
Research exploration on use of radio frequencies
The use of radio frequencies is one of the five aspects that Partridge identifies in his article. When it comes to the use of radio frequencies, users are supposed to ensure that their devices do not interfere with other devices that rely on radios frequencies (Finkenzeller 2010, p. 155). The requirement of producing little or no disturbance to other wireless devices is one of the reasons why frequencies licensors allocate frequencies for different devices. Despite this, the modern society recognizes that radio frequency is an important resource that must be conserved.
With regard to use of radio frequencies, users must share radio spectrums with other users in order to reduce depleting frequencies (Elbert 2004, p. 446). In many countries, governments have instituted various acts to govern the sharing of frequencies among legacy users and other modern derives. These acts cover issue of ownership, use, and transfer of ownership rights (Arndt 2009, p. 49). Indeed, the use of radio frequency is something that regulators may have to change in order to accommodate the new software radios.
Networking and telecommunication field is a dynamic field, characterized by development of new knowledge. After reading Partridge’s article, I was interested to know how software radios can be used in commercial sphere and how protocols can be packaged as software. Through the reading of the Partridge’s article, I was intrigued to see what software radios can do. Whereas I was faced with challenges while reading the alternative of making different radio types, I still find the article to be inspiring and exciting.
My further research on two areas namely: software radios and use of spectrum; provided me with more information about the radio frequency technologies. Exploring these topics enabled me to realize the connection between the uses of software radios and frequency sharing and licensure. Most important, I have come to understand some of the challenges that communication stakeholders must go through in order to develop software radios. Ultimately, this will allow maximum utilization of network resources such as radio frequency, while, at the same time, promoting flexibility and ease of design. This research has been a success.